Inside the Mind of a Searcher: Free Keyword Research Search Data

AOL proved stupid by potentially violating the privacy of 650,000 searchers and the 20 million searches they did over a 3 month period earlier this year. While seasonal and limited to AOL data, this ties data together between searcher and search patterns as well as searches and relevant sites.

Imagine combining Alexa, Hitwise, and Wordtracker, and making it all free :)

The original data source has been pulled, but mirrors are up.

Published: August 8, 2006 by Aaron Wall in AOL seo tips


August 10, 2006 - 3:37pm


it would be nice to know how many people are actually searching for google on .. I wouldn't be surprised if that's a big search term...

August 14, 2006 - 8:20pm

Well this is really a nice database, this would certainly help us know what and how people search.


Nick Pang
August 8, 2006 - 2:15am

i'm still processing the globs of data...

a gold mine!

Nick Pang
August 8, 2006 - 2:27am

markus at plentyoffish has some interesting preliminary observations...

August 8, 2006 - 5:12am

How are you all opening this file? It seems to be a bit too heavy for wordpad? Any ideas?

August 8, 2006 - 5:41am

You can try which should be able to open it.

August 8, 2006 - 7:08am


Import it into a database app so you can tool around with it...


Marc-Olivier BERNARD
August 8, 2006 - 11:45am


I could be of interest to be able to search on past months too (like in google trends).

Best regards,

August 8, 2006 - 12:15pm

whohw, Im really looking forward to more analysis and conclusions of people analyzing this data (currently downloading it myself)

August 8, 2006 - 1:26pm

this data is very interesting. But i'm afraid that this will lead to more mfa sites

August 8, 2006 - 5:57pm

I thought I'd post a comment whilst it's downloading in the background....A hefty file but like Nick says, it's a gold mine. Also thanks to Nick for the link to plentyoffish.

Think I'll make a pot of coffee and wait for the results to come down :D

August 8, 2006 - 9:04pm

For those of you who can’t download or store the AOL data.. Here is an Overture-like tool that shows top 1000 results for any give keyword/phrase. The tool then allows you to view the websites clicked and their average page placement. They DON’T show the user data for privacy concerns..

This seems to be a great tool for SEO

August 9, 2006 - 1:35am

Rob, are you sure? -- when I use the"Random User Search" I seem to get user data just fine.

August 9, 2006 - 5:07am

Shameless plug ...

Great tool searching the AOL data to find the keywords people type to find the specified site. For example I put in and it returned the queries that resulted in a clickthru to cbs. Good keyword research tool.

Generates the competitive info I am after.

August 9, 2006 - 8:43am

Top 50 clicked queries:
264646 google
107473 yahoo
71536 ebay
61188 myspace
57465 mapquest
24866 my space
19290 bank of america
17234 hotmail
16361 msn
16085 ask jeeves
15378 craigslist
15184 yahoo mail
14441 map quest
13091 bankofamerica
11316 dictionary
11128 myspace layouts
11017 southwest airlines
10156 weather
9881 my
9831 walmart
9481 american idol
8118 lyrics
7599 maps
7331 qvc
6579 pogo
6433 target
6420 yahoo games
6189 white pages
5907 florida lottery
5777 runescape
5770 irs
5551 yellow pages
5413 wachovia
5041 home depot
5004 lowes
4821 horoscopes
4722 espn

Thanks for sharing.

August 9, 2006 - 4:06pm

I find it ironic that even though AOL has been using Google results for over, what 3+ years now, user still search for Google to do their searching instead of just searching within AOL.

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